Clever Creatures: 'Wise from Receiving Wisdom' | The Institute for Creation Research

Clever Creatures: 'Wise from Receiving Wisdom'

Animals fascinate children. They should amaze adults, too, yet often we are too busy to take time to ponder and appreciate the God-given traits of the creatures who share our world.

Why should animals capture our attention? They are alive! Unlike plants, which are like biological machines (having no self-consciousness),1 higher-order animals like mammals and birds are truly alive, often displaying what might be called personalities. Although qualitatively distinct from humans—who are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27)—animals have what Scripture calls a “soul” (Hebrew nephesh).2

This soul is something more than the animal’s physical body. A dog’s soul departs at death, yet its physical body remains. Thus, there is a difference between a dog’s immaterial life and its material body, just as we humans have physical bodies distinct from our immaterial selves. The animal’s soul is revealed by how he or she intelligently thinks, communicates, learns, and makes decisions—including problem-solving choices.

Although many animal behaviors exhibit preprogrammed responses to outside world conditions, not all animal behavior is instinctive. Some animal behaviors reveal that God chose to give them cleverness—abilities to learn new ideas, to fit new situations, and to solve practical problems of daily living.

As [Benjamin] Beck tells us in his book Animal Tool Behavior, [a crow] was fed partly on dried mash, which its keepers were supposed to moisten. But sometimes (being merely human) they forgot. The crow, undaunted, would then pick up a small plastic cup that had been provided as a toy, dip it into a water trough, carry the filled cup across the room to the food, and empty the water onto the mash. “If the water was spilled accidently,” Beck writes, “the crow would return to the trough for a refill rather than proceed to the food pan with an empty cup.” The bird was not taught to do this. “The [problem-solving] behavior appeared spontaneously,” Beck reports.3

Many other examples of problem solving by resourceful animals could be given. Domesticated livestock, family pets, wildlife, and laboratory-tested animals come up with clever solutions to the challenges of daily living to secure food, water, air, shelter, rest, information, and reproductive success.3-5

But the resourcefulness of animals should not surprise us. Proverbs informs us that God wisely installed wisdom into animals—even small creatures like ants, conies, locusts, and lizards.6

Literally, these animals are “wise from receiving [God’s] wisdom.”7 Fascinating!

References

  1. For more information about the nature of plants, see Morris III, H. M. 2012. It’s Alive! Acts & Facts. 41 (8): 4-5.
  2. Regarding animals having nephesh-characterized life, see Genesis 1:20-21, 24; 2:19; 9:10, 12, 15-16; Leviticus 11:46. See Johnson, J. J. S. 2013. “New from Nothing”: Is God Still Creating Today? Acts & Facts. 42 (5): 10-11. See also Joubert, C. 2011. What Makes Us Human, and Why It Is Not the Brain: A Creationist Defense of the Soul. Answers Research Journal. 4: 217-232.
  3. Savage, C. 1997. Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 2-4. See PLOS Media’s “Causal understanding of water displacement by a crow,” posted on youtube.com. See also Burke, M. 2016. Only clever observers realize just how intelligent fish crows are. Chesapeake Bay Journal. 26 (8): 39.
  4. Even parrots can appreciate the cause-and-effect thinking needed “to understand and solve a novel situation.” See Bates, M. Problem-solving parrots understand cause and effect. Wired. Posted on wired.com October 17, 2013.
  5. Humble frillfin goby fish demonstrate amazing problem-solving abilities, as do tool-using dolphins, elephants, birds, tuskfish, and other resourceful animals. See Tomkins, J. P. 2016. Fish as Smart as Apes? Acts & Facts. 45 (12): 15. (“Clearly these complex cognitive fish abilities don’t fit the evolutionary paradigm…[but] they exemplify the incredible engineering and creativity of our great Creator God.”)
  6. Here semamith is translated as “lizard” based on analysis in Cansdale, G. S. 1976. All the Animals of the Bible Lands. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 24, 28, 199-200, 227, and 267.
  7. Proverbs 30:24-28 (translating chakâmîm mechukkâmîm in verse 24).

Image credit: Copyright © 2016 K. Bohn / San Diego Zoo Global. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holder.

* Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: James J. S. Johnson, J.D., Th.D. 2017. Clever Creatures: 'Wise from Receiving Wisdom'. Acts & Facts. 46 (3).

The Latest
NEWS
Bees Master Complex Tasks Through Social Interaction
Bees are simply incredible.1,2 These little furry fliers challenge the very foundation of Darwinism in many diverse ways. Bees have been...

NEWS
The Tail of Man’s Supposed Ancestors
Although it has been known for decades and despite insistence to the contrary from the evolutionary community, man—Homo sapiens—has never...

NEWS
When Day Meets Night—A Total Success!
The skies cleared above North Texas on Monday, April 8, for a spectacular view of the 2024 Great American Solar Eclipse. Hundreds of guests joined...

NEWS
The Sun and Moon—Designed for Eclipses
Before discovering thousands of planets in other solar systems, scientists tended to assume that other solar systems would be very similar to our own....

NEWS
Let ICR Help You Prepare for the Great American Solar Eclipse!
On Monday, April 8th, the moon will move directly between the earth and the sun, resulting in a total solar eclipse visible in northern Mexico, much...

NEWS
Total Eclipse on April 8th
“You alone are the LORD; You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and everything on it, the seas and all that...

CREATION PODCAST
Dismantling Evolution One Gear At A Time! | The Creation Podcast:...
The human body is a marvel of complexity and the more we learn about it, the more miraculous our existence becomes! Can evolution explain the...

NEWS
April 2024 ICR Wallpaper
"He appointed the moon for seasons; The sun knows its going down." (Psalm 104:19 NKJV) ICR April 2024 wallpaper is now available...

NEWS
Creation's Easter Message
While many Christians still consider the creation doctrine a fringe issue, a proper understanding of the Christian message finds creation at its core...

NEWS
ICR Veteran Don Barber Retires
Don Barber   After 34 years with the Institute for Creation Research, Director of Enterprise Technology Don Barber will retire...